35 The Jews said to one another, “Where does this man intend to go that we cannot find him? Will he go where our people live scattered among the Greeks, and teach the Greeks?
In verse 32 we read the Pharisees ‘heard the crowd whispering such things about Jesus’. The ‘things’ the Pharisees heard were the reality that many in the crowd believed in Jesus (v.31). Such a conversion meant people were setting aside the Pharisees’ traditional teachings (Mark 7:1-32), and since the Pharisees are the guardians of Jewish traditions, they took the responsibility on themselves to do something about Jesus. Hence, we read in verse 32 that the Pharisees sent temple guards to arrest Jesus.
However, one of the reasons why the Pharisees felt such a deep sense of responsibility to protect Jewish traditions was because the Pharisees were an important sect of Judaism. They numbered about 6,000 and were very influential. They held a strict interpretation of the Law and embraced many Jewish oral traditions. The Pharisees were the only minor group to survive the Jewish war of A.D. 66–70, and their teachings formed the basis for Talmudic Judaism.
Thus, one can only imagine since it was expected of the Jews to obey the Law and the relevant Jewish traditions as mentioned in the Old Testament (OT) for thousands of years, and now all of a sudden, Jesus is teaching to believe in him, for the OT has been fulfilled in Him (which is the truth). And declaring he will go somewhere where no one will find him (v.35). One could understand why the Pharisees had such a hard time believing in Jesus (not that it’s an excuse). Just because one doesn’t understand a fact or truth doesn’t mean you are exempt from believing it. Think of gravity. You might not believe in gravity, but the reality remains gravity is still real and true.
Thoughts for the day
- Is there a specific tradition you are holding onto, that is not Biblically true?
Jesus, You still know the suffering and joy of Your people. Jesus, you know. Please let the displaced people of the world know that they are known. And help us to be known, to know You, and to know our brothers and sisters in this world.